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Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition

The Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to sports and sports fitness, general fitness, bodybuilding, nutrition, weight loss, and human health. Here, you'll find everything from nutritional information and advice about healthy eating to training and exercise tips for improving your overall well-being.

Pizza for Breakfast?

Posted February 10, 2018 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: Health nutrition

Although likely meant to drive home the point that sugary cereal is not exactly healthy, many people are only hearing the second part of a message from a well-intentioned nutritionist making the claim last week that pizza is a healthier breakfast option than cereal.

And I am one of those people.

Swayed by the many headlines: “Pizza: the healthier breakfast,” or “Ditch the cereal and grab a pizza,” I all but wrote a love letter to NYC-based nutritionist Chelsey Amer who had this to say about my favorite food:

“You may be surprised to find out that an average slice of pizza and a bowl of cereal with whole milk contain nearly the same amount of calories,” Amer said. “However, pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning.”

Amer continued: “Plus, a slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar than most cold cereals, so you will not experience a quick sugar crash.”

Yet, Amer (my new best friend and likely my college nutritionist) cautions:

"I’m not saying that we should go out and eat pizza every day for breakfast. We should follow our cravings. If that’s what you are craving, it can prevent you from eating an entire pie later on."

Were it that simple, Chelsey!

Still, other dieticians (but not my beloved Chelsey) warn against eating food like pizza every day and, consequently, loading up on carbohydrates, fat and sodium, thereby jeopardizing any healthy eating decisions made throughout the day.

Are you prepared to jump on the pizza-for-breakfast bandwagon? Or were you — like me — already on it?

20 comments; last comment on 02/12/2018
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Cheese Lovers Rejoice!

Posted December 16, 2017 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: cardiovascular health food

According to a recent study, eating 40 grams (or 1.41 ounces) of cheese each day may help reduce the likelihood of stroke or heart disease.

Reporting their findings in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers examined the effect cheese consumption had on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Typically, because cheese is high in saturated fats, it is thought to increase cholesterol levels and, subsequently, the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, researchers have determined that cheese may actually have the opposite effect on cardiovascular health.

Researchers looked at the cheese consumption of more than 200,000 participants over the course of 10 years and found that the majority of participants didn’t show signs of cardiovascular disease. In fact, when compared with those participants who ate little cheese, participants who regularly consumed cheese were roughly 18 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, 14 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease and approximately 10 percent less likely to suffer a stroke.

According to the researchers: "This meta-analysis of prospective studies suggests a nonlinear inverse association between cheese consumption and risk of CVD."

Which begs the question: In what phenomenal shape would a person’s cardiovascular system be in, let’s say, after consuming possibly six times the daily recommended amount of cheese?

I’m asking for a friend.

Unfortunately, this is not, according to alleged health experts, cause to run to the grocery store just yet, warning that the study was conducted by groups with ties to the dairy industry…and…maybe…to me.

8 comments; last comment on 12/19/2017
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A Diet Rich in...Bugs!

Posted June 24, 2017 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: insects nutrition

If recent research or even common urban legends are to be believed — for every candy bar we consume, we also consume at least eight pieces of insect or that we swallow at least eight spiders in our sleep annually — introducing bugs into our daily diet should not surprise our "delicate" systems at all.

At least, that is what twin brothers who have created a health-food start-up focusing on protein derived from insects is banking on.

Lithic Nutrition offers products ranging from flavored cricket bars to cricket protein powders…without any bug imagery or depictions of insect art on the labels. And although the bars resemble traditional protein bars, the only giveaway is labeling clearing listing "cricket powder" as the main ingredient.

Trying his first "bug" as a marine stationed in Asia, Dave Baugh, likened the experience to eating potato chips.

However, Baugh and his twin brother anticipate having to overcome Western attitudes about bug consumption. While bugs are considered an important food staple and source of protein in most other parts of the world, Westerners in particular cannot seem to get past the feelings associated with eating bugs, which tends to elicit a gagging reaction or mock vomiting.

However, according to research, bug consumption is highly beneficial because bugs are plentiful and rich in protein and other nutrients. According to the research, crickets provide more calcium per gram than milk, more vitamin B12 than salmon, and more iron than spinach.

According to the brothers, cloaking the bugs in a variety of flavors (blueberry, vanilla, banana bread, and dark chocolate brownie) and fashioning them into traditional-looking protein bars may make the idea more...palatable.

Bug consumption has also garnered a lot of attention recently as the latest fad in snacking and for the environmental benefits to be gained from its worldwide consumption (using significantly less resources to produce than the farming methods used to produce cattle — a typical source of protein for westerners).

Would you be willing to incorporate bugs into your diet? Have you eaten bugs before?

Image credit:

Mckay Savage / CC BY 2.0

7 comments; last comment on 07/03/2017
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The Coffee Cure

Posted June 10, 2017 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: cancer coffee Liver

If you are tired of health experts maligning one of the world’s best-loved beverages, then this may very well be your best week ever. In a recent study from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh, coffee consumption has been linked to a decrease in the risk of developing the most common form of liver cancer: hepatocellular cancer (HCC).

According to the study, drinking one cup of coffee (caffeinated) a day was associated with a possible 20 percent reduction in developing HCC. The likelihood of developing HCC decreased with every additional cup of coffee consumed in a day up to five cups. In fact, if you have up to five cups in one day (mere child’s play for some of us), you might even stand to cut your risk of developing HCC in half. These percentages were determined based on 26 observational studies with over 2.25 million participants.

Already linked to decreasing the risk of developing non-cancer chronic liver disease (cirrhosis), coffee consumption has been tied to a number of other health benefits. Coffee possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties — all of which may explain the lower levels of chronic liver disease and liver cancer in coffee drinkers.

Decaffeinated coffee drinkers were also exposed to some of the same benefits, but to a lesser degree.

However, non-coffee drinkers shouldn’t run over to Starbucks just yet. Pregnant women in particular should continue to avoid caffeine as well as people with any serious heart conditions due to the relationship between consuming too much caffeine and heart damage.

And there are additional questions that linger for avid coffee drinkers: Are the benefits of drinking coffee (particularly for the liver) null and void if alcohol is an ingredient in one’s diet? Or does adding alcohol into your diet upset the percentages? Or, more importantly, if consumed together, say, in Irish coffee, do the benefits persist? I’m asking for a friend.

19 comments; last comment on 07/15/2017
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I Only Drink Water!

Posted June 03, 2017 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: Bones brain immune system Water weight

If recent research is to be believed, I have been doing it all wrong and maybe you have as well. Have you upped your water intake in the hopes of improving your health or maybe dropping some weight only to be met with little in the way of results?

Now, a group of, let’s call them extremists, are telling us that these benefits are achievable if we only drink water.

So what can we expect to happen if our beverage diet is made up entirely of water? I mean, aside from being completely bored and, likely, ill-tempered? According to a study published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, drinking water exclusively may improve mental performance and heart health, promote weight loss, build healthier bones, and create a stronger immune system.

Brains

According to the research, in just 30 days, improved mental activity can be achieved by drinking only water. To perform, the brain needs oxygen, which comes, in part, from water consumption. Replenishing water supplies means more efficient functioning.

Body

Water can help also promote weight loss by acting as both an appetite suppressant and aiding in healthier digestion. Additionally, water helps to remove toxins that inhibit fat burning. In fact, one single glass of water first thing in the morning is thought to boost metabolism by 24%.

Beauty

Want to look ten years younger? According to research, water will help make that dream a reality. Just as you moisturize your exterior, it is necessary to moisturize from within. Consumed in healthy amounts, water can rejuvenate skin, improve muscular condition, and slow down the aging process.

Blood

Water helps achieve better heart health by diluting the blood, thereby making it easier to carry throughout the body and decreasing blood pressure.

A stronger immune system can be achieved by upping your daily water intake as well. Water helps to detoxify your blood and helps to create heathier kidneys and liver. It can also help in fighting chronic pain conditions.

Bones

Because water helps to rebuild cartilage and other tissue, it consequently makes us more flexible, enabling us to move our joints with less required effort.

Are you willing to give up coffee, tea, juice, soda, or booze to become a heathier, thinner, younger, more flexible, clearer headed, and, possibly, angrier version of yourself?

58 comments; last comment on 07/14/2017
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